Move over Apple and Android, there's a new kid in town! Google's newly released Nexus 7 is light, sleek, highly portable and inexpensive and it's going to be a game changer in the tablet wars.
It’s unusual for a software company to move into the hardware business but Google has done something smart by pairing up with Asus, a company who specializes in tablets, to design and manufacture the slender tablet.
Don’t expect the same features found in the iPad but this tablet has enough enhancements to kick the Kindle Fire to the curb.
Small is powerful
Probably the most attractive feature is the price tag: $259.99 for 16GB. You get a lot of bang for your buck at this price.
Weighing in at a mere 340 grams with dimensions of 198.5 x 120mm x 10.45 mm wide, this is one tiny but powerful tablet. The 7-inch screen offers a 1200 x 800 HD backlit IPS display with a decent 216 pixels per inch onto the screen, protected by scratch resistant Corning® glass.
There’s a nice bezel around the screen so your fingers won’t be in the way. Google also promises up to 8 hours of battery life under “normal use” but also boasts about the 9 hours of HD video playback, 10 hours of web browsing or e-reading and up to 300 hours of stand-by time. Impressive considering the size of Nexus 7.
More buttons, more features
Google has also one-upped the Kindle with three hardware controls instead of one lone button. The power/sleep button is on the right side with a two-stage volume rocker just below. On the bottom is a micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There's one thin speaker port on the back and on top a pinhole port for a microphone. A more practical 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera has replaced the usual lousy back-end camera. However you’ll have to download a third-party Camera Launcher app to get the camera up and running.
Surf and play
This baby is built for surfing and downloading the 600,000 apps, games, music, magazines and film on **competitor**. It’s obviously been designed with gaming in mind with a decent quad-core performance and sensors like a gyroscope and accelerometer. You’ll also find all your Google faves: Gmail, Chrome, Google+ and YouTube plus the GPS chip that connects to the Google Map’s new offline mode – a nice touch.
There’s no micro-SD card slot on the Nexus 7 so the only way to expand storage is through Wi-Fi enabled hard drives or removable flash storage. It does come equipped with Bluetooth and a speed of 2.4GHz, which is fast enough for modern broadband. A NFC chip (near-field communication) lets you push files onto compatible devices.
One sweet operating system
Another star feature is Google’s latest version of its mobile operating system: the Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" allowing for fast downloading and swiping through screens. One feature that may take some getting used to is a home screen fixed into portrait mode. The Nexus 7 will rotate for landscape use with other apps for viewing videos, TV shows or films but for Google functions you’ll be reading in traditional portrait mode.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting a tablet, Google’s Nexus 7 is an excellent intro to the tablet world, especially if you can’t afford Apple’s iPad. Pre-order yours today so you don't miss out.